Mass Rapes Spike in Somalia

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In war-torn Somalia, an alarming increase in gang rapes of women and girls at the hands of radical Islamic militants has created a climate of fear throughout the country. Ravaged by unceasing combat and a nationwide famine, Somalis are now facing a sexual-abuse epidemic. According to U.N. officials, the Shabab militants are raping girls and women, forcing arranged marriages, and taking women as sex slaves to pay their militiamen. Aid workers and victims say that armed and even government soldiers are also pillaging overcrowded refugee camps, raping and killing their victims. Fartuun Adan, who runs Somalia’s Elman Peace and Human Rights Center, says many women are afraid of telling their stories. “There’s no justice here, no protection.”